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Iraq bombings kill 45

Bombs mainly targeting Shi’ite Muslims and security forces in Iraq killed 45 people and wounded 205 others yesterday in the deadliest day of violence to hit the country in more than two months.

The attacks, the worst since 76 people were killed on September 9, included the second series of bombings against Shi’ites this week, after three car bombs exploded near their places of worship in Baghdad on Tuesday, killing a dozen and wounding scores more.

Yesterday’s violence brings the number of people killed in attacks this month to at least 152 – 16 more than in October, according to an AFP tally based on security and medical sources. That reversed a three-month trend of declining death tolls.

Two roadside bombs targeted a group of Shi’ite pilgrims in the city of Hilla, police said. A list of victims posted at a hospital in Hilla put the toll at 33 killed and 166 wounded – figures confirmed by Babil provincial council member Hamed Ahmed Abboud.

Iraqi security forces cordoned off the area of the blasts and set up checkpoints in the city to search cars, a correspondent said, adding that shops near the site were shuttered after the attacks.

Ali al-Khafaji, the owner of a mobile phone shop in the area of the blasts, said there was a big explosion near a restaurant where a tent serving food to Shi’ite pilgrims was set up, followed by another blast when emergency personnel arrived at the scene.

In the shrine city of Karbala, a car bomb exploded under a bridge, killing five people and wounding 13, a police spokesman and a medical official said.

The spokesman said security forces closed off all roads leading to the old city, where Imam Hussein, one of the most revered figures in Shi’ite Islam, is buried, and were searching for a second car bomb.

Security forces were also targeted yesterday.

A suicide car bomb against an army patrol in Fallujah, west of Baghdad, killed three soldiers and wounded three others and four civilians.

A car bomb in Mosul in Iraq’s north targeted a police patrol, killing a policeman and a civilian and wounding two more police officers, security and medical sources said.

Another car bomb on the main road south of Baghdad killed one person and wounded 11, including three police, while two roadside bombs near a military base north of the city killed one person and wounded six others, an interior ministry official and medical sources said.

Members of Iraq’s security forces and the country’s Shi’ite majority are both frequently targeted by Sunni insurgents in bomb attacks. (AFP)

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